Eduardo Bolsonaro in Buenos Aires: “Brazil lives under a dictatorship” (Interview) 

By May 31, 2024

Buenos Aires, Argentina – Eduardo Bolsonaro, the 39-year-old son of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, addressed members of Argentina’s Congress on Thursday. 

The meeting, sponsored by representatives from President Javier Milei’s La Libertad Avanza party, officially focused on “censorship and human rights” in Brazil. 

Eduardo and other deputies from Brazil’s lower house of Congress spoke about a “cultural battle” that the Latin American right is waging against left-wing governments and social movements. “The war to know who defends freedom has been won,” said Eduardo. 

The third child of right-wing political firebrand Jair Bolsonaro, Eduardo has largely followed in his father’s footsteps, adopting his brand of far-right populism. He has served in Brazil’s lower house of Congress since 2015, and chairs committees on international affairs and national defense. 

At home in Brazil, former President Bolsonaro and his allies are under criminal investigation, accused of plotting a coup to overthrow the government after he lost to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the 2022 elections. Months later, on January 8, 2022, Bolsonaro supporters — believing that the election had been stolen — attacked the government headquarters in Brasília, causing millions of dollars in damage and shaking Brazil’s democracy. 

Read more: Former Brazilian military leaders said Bolsonaro proposed military coup a month before January 8 attacks on Brazil’s government headquarters

“Brazil lives under a dictatorship,” Eduardo told Argentina Reports in a conference room inside Congress, before and after he addressed the Argentine congressmen. The below interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. 

Image credit: Sebastián Rodríguez Mora

Argentina Reports: Your presence in Buenos Aires wasn’t expected. What is the objective of this visit?

Eduardo Bolsonaro: The first step is to expose all the violations of freedom that are occurring in Brazil. 

We are against censorship. There are deputies who are in jail. I am under investigation for accusations about spreading fake news, even though there is no legal definition in this regard. This is just an excuse to persecute critics of Lula’s government. All this is carried out by Alexandre de Moraes, a Judge on the Supreme Court of Justice. 

We came to warn Argentina, because the same can happen here if Kirchnerism retakes power. In our Constitution we have article 53, that establishes parliamentary immunity: we can give any opinion about anything and nothing should happen. 

Also, since the 2022 elections, right-wing media Jovem Pan was destroyed. Journalists [from the publication] like Alan Dos Santos, Paulo Figueredo and Rodrigo Constantino had to flee to the U.S. and De Moraes tried to extradite them back.

AR: Since Lula’s new government started, there seems to be a change of trend in Brazil’s justice system: years before the same Supreme Court convicted him. How could you summarize that change?

EB: There’s an evident convergence of justice and the leftists, a persecution of anything different from progressivism. 

Authorities have state intelligence, bigger than anyone can deploy, and citizens who rise up against Lula’s government are under investigation. 

I’m under judicial scrutiny because I shared on social media an article by Folha de Sao Paulo, a very leftist newspaper, regarding delays in the government help in the Rio Grande do Sul floods. The federal Minister of Communication denounced me for that.

Image credit: Sebastián Rodríguez Mora

AR: Do you fear that this criminal process against you can end in conviction?

EB: I have no hope of justice. I don’t want to put all members of the Supreme Court in the same bag, because Alexandre de Moraes is the leader of this persecution.

You can ask people in Brazil if the Supreme Court is doing its job, most of them will answer no. I have accepted that, in my future life, I am going to spend a lot on lawyers and have a lot of headaches. It’s my life. I’m happy to be at the front of 2 million voters that chose me in 2018. I try to protect them and give them a future full of freedom, even if I am the one who has to suffer in that process.

AR: In your opinion, what’s the main worry for Brazilians nowadays?

EB: Freedom. We are speaking at different places outside of Brazil, like the U.S. Congress or European Parliament, to say that without freedom of speech we cannot even try to be opponents to Lula. 

If you can’t criticize this government, people will never notice that we’re living under a dictatorship.

AR: Do you think what happened on January 8 was a political mistake?

– For sure. We do not support what happened. We only say that accountability has to occur in accordance with the law. 

As I said, Congress was already invaded in the past by leftist groups and nothing happened. This is not something new in Brazil. We want justice and law enforcement, we do not seek privilege.